John John - 6 months ago 25
Vb.net Question

Setting Objects to Null/Nothing after use in .NET

Should you set all the objects to

null
(
Nothing
in VB.NET) once you have finished with them?

I understand that in .NET it is essential to dispose of any instances of objects that implement the
IDisposable
interface to release some resources although the object can still be something after it is disposed (hence the
isDisposed
property in forms), so I assume it can still reside in memory or at least in part?

I also know that when an object goes out of scope it is then marked for collection ready for the next pass of the garbage collector (although this may take time).

So with this in mind will setting it to
null
speed up the system releasing the memory as it does not have to work out that it is no longer in scope and are they any bad side effects?

MSDN articles never do this in examples and currently I do this as I cannot
see the harm. However I have come across a mixture of opinions so any comments are useful.

Kev Kev
Answer

Karl is absolutely correct, there is no need to set objects to null after use. If an object implements IDisposable, just make sure you call IDisposable.Dispose() when you're done with that object (wrapped in a try..finally, or, a using() block). But even if you don't remember to call Dispose(), the finaliser method on the object should be calling Dispose() for you.

I thought this was a good treatment:

Digging into IDisposable

and this

Understanding IDisposable

There isn't any point in trying to second guess the GC and its management strategies because it's self tuning and opaque. There was a good discussion about the inner workings with Jeffrey Richter on Dot Net Rocks here: Jeffrey Richter on the Windows Memory Model and Richters book CLR via C# chapter 20 has a great treatment: